Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary (Atlanta Campus), Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC and Editorial Director, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
Pastors, teach your children how important your work is to God, how essential it is to the care of God’s people, and that it is worth suffering for it. The question is…do you pastor, believe that, especially when our families suffer from it?
I've been astonished in preaching through Revelation just how full of Old Testament imagery is the book of Revelation.Preaching on chapters 8 and 9 this morning it is easy to see how these chapters are fertile fields for nut-bars imagining that what John is describing is nuclear fallout, war planes and helicopters.
However, when one picks upon the OT imagery it is clear that the language is not so much John trying to put into words visions he sees of the 20th and 21st centuries, but John using Old testament language and categories to describe the visions of the state we have been and shall be experiencing from the resurrection of Christ until his return.
There are recapitulations of the 10 plagues of God's judgment against Egypt (Blood, locusts, hail, darkness, and stubborn unrepentance). There are undoings of Gen1-2 itself as there are attacks upon the earth, sea, springs of water, the very sky and ultimately God's image bearers themselves. And that is just scratching the surface, not to mention the use of imagery from Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Joel, Psalms, Proverbs and more.
On Sunday morning, as I was welcoming people to church, it was tipping it down with rain, and a number 295 bus passed by with the words "we are in drought" emblazoned on the side of the bus. I'd wished I'd had a camera with me. The same irony has been caught by others.
I couldn't help but allow the irony enter the morning's sermon. We were thinking about evangelism and the local church: when we seek to share the gospel and yet do not love one another within the church, there becomes a disconnect between the message we are seeking to share of the transforming love of Christ, and the lack of evidence within the community transformed by that love.
When brotherly love and a commitment to evangelism come together, the gospel we are sharing is made evident by the love that it has produced.
HT: Randomly London
We are encouraging people to come to church an hour earlier than normal to take a short course on something that might be doctrinal, practical, ethical or exegetical.
We have just begun the third course. Having completed Christianity Explored and then a great course on personal finances taught by Paul Mills, Leigh Porter has just begun a bible overview course, based on Vaughan Roberts' book, "God's big picture".
Over at 9Marks, Jamie Dunlop has written a great little article about the kinds of ways in which such a slot could be well used to bring about biblical change in the life of a congregation.
I've just pinned this verse up on my wall (that's a thing in a room covered in plaster and paint, rather than a thing on a facebook page with lots of random comments), as it is a powerful reminder of the responsibilities before the Lord that those who teach God's word have.
"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."
I'm off to my fraternal this morning. we've been reading 'How people change' by Timothy Lane and Ed Welch.
Here's a few quotes to recommend the book.
Things that easily replace the gospel as 'fake' Christianities
1) Formalism: "The gospel is reduced to participation in the meetings and ministries of the church"
2) Legalism: "Salvation is earned by keeping the rules we've established"
3) Mysticism: "more a pursuit of experience than a pursuit of Christ"
4) Activism: "whenever you believe the evil outside you is greater than the evil inside you, a heartfelt pursuit of Christ will be replace by a zealous fighting of the 'evil' around you."
5) Biblicism: "he has invested a great deal of effort in mastering the Word, but he does not allow the Word to master him.
6) Psycologyism: "sees Christ more as a therapist than a Saviour"
7) Socialism: "The gospel is reduced to a network of fulfilling Christian relationships"